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10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Orientation At Dalhousie University

10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Orientation At Dalhousie University

O-Week is the first step to starting your university experience. Here is everything you need to know for freshman orientation at Dalhousie University!

IT’S ALMOST SEPTEMBER! Orientation Week is approaching fast for many new and incoming students to university. Dalhousie has what they call “O-Week” at the very beginning of September, and it’s a blast. If you have the option to go, you totally should.

Being thrown into a new place for the first time can be pretty stressful. Especially if the first time you find yourself on campus is with what seems like a billion new faces. To try to reduce that stress, here is a list of 10 things I wish I knew before I went to O-Week at Dalhousie University!

 10 things I wish I knew before I went to O-Week at Dalhousie University!

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1. There are going to be A LOT of people

Maybe you came from a small-town high school, like I did, where you usually only see the same 500 students each week. But at Dalhousie’s O-Week, there are literally thousands of people. If you are the shy type, don’t fret. There are so many people who are just as overwhelmed as you. There’s nothing to worry about anyways. The more people you meet, the more potential friendships there are to be made.

 10 things I wish I knew before I went to O-Week at Dalhousie University!

2. There will be a lot of screaming and dancing

When you arrive, you are assigned a “house”. It’s much like those from Harry Potter, and it’s generally the residence you’re staying in. You may be a part of Old Eddy or Gerard, and if you’re not living on campus, that’s okay! There are also Off-Campus “houses”. I was a part of one of those at my orientation.

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There are frequent spirit competitions where you and your house have to come up with different chants and dances. Usually you’ll have a scream off with some other houses and the loudest one wins. Get ready to get a little extra!

 10 things I wish I knew before I went to O-Week at Dalhousie University!

3. Some of the friends you meet at O-Week will be friends for a long time

I was lucky enough to meet some of the future Dal students through the Facebook group, Official Dalhousie Class of (your potential graduating year), at O-Week. Thankfully, we got along quite well and joined some clubs and had some classes together. These friendships have stayed strong since day 1.

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If you have any Facebook contacts going to Dal this year, I suggest you try to start a conversation with them and see what you have in common. Maybe you’ll make some really close friends this year, especially if you find out you’re in the same residence house.

If you’re local, I highly recommend trying to break out of your high school groups/cliques and make new friends. A new start at a new school is the best way to grow as an individual!

 10 things I wish I knew before I went to O-Week at Dalhousie University!

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4. Others will not

Not everyone can keep in touch in a big school like Dalhousie, especially not when you have different interests or schedules. So it’s totally normal to meet people at O-Week and never speak to them again. As long as you’re nice and approachable you shouldn’t really have any problems.

 10 things I wish I knew before I went to O-Week at Dalhousie University!

5. There are a bunch of clubs and teams that advertise themselves at O-Week

There are SO many clubs and teams at Dal. There’s even an app that will show you all of them. There’s a club for everyone, which may sound doubtful, but trust me, there are so many opportunities for people with a broad spectrum of interests. Tea drinking, surfing, dancing, debating, and many, many more! Explore all of your options.

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You’ll most likely see a bunch of these booths set up at O-Week, including some from Dal’s Greek Life. If those are something you’re interested in, definitely check them out as well!

 10 things I wish I knew before I went to O-Week at Dalhousie University!

6. YOU NEED TO SLEEP

The days usually start pretty early and end pretty late. Some days you might be out of bed and on campus at 7am and not be in bed until midnight. That is, of course, if you don’t find friends to party with each night. In that case, you need to decide if sleeping at 3am is a better option than waking up well-rested and ready for the next day.

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 10 things I wish I knew before I went to O-Week at Dalhousie University!

7. If sex is a topic that makes you uncomfortable, get comfortable with it

Sex is inevitable in university. It’s going to happen. It might happen in your dorm, their dorm, a shower, a classroom… literally anywhere. Some students have not really been given a formal sex education when they enter university, so you can thank Dalhousie for providing you and your fellow classmates with it.

At my O-Week, we had two ladies from Venus Envy, an award-winning sex shop here in Halifax, come and discuss how to practice safe sex, what to do if you think you have a problem “down there” and tips and tricks for awesome sex. Despite the fact that we’re all almost legal adults, you’d be surprised at how many people still laugh at the words “penis” and “vagina”.

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 10 things I wish I knew before I went to O-Week at Dalhousie University!

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8. Bring a portable phone charger or head to the third floor of the SUB to charge your phone

This was something I REALLY wish I knew before going to O-Week. Some of the groups are more tightly-knit than others. So you’ll either be talking your head off with new and interesting people, or you’ll be in a group with people you just feel you can’t click with and be on your phone the entire time.

As for my experience, it was very difficult to keep talking with my group mates because no one wanted to stick together. Mind you, I was in an Off-Campus group, so a lot of these people were just living at home since they’re local or stuck with their high school friends when they joined the group.

I was on my phone A LOT when we had to be with our groups. Most of my new-found friends were living in residence. So when we weren’t together, we’d be texting or using Snapchat or on Facebook. I used my phone to take a lot of pictures and videos as well, so that drained the battery quite fast.

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If you’re someone whose fingers are glued to your screen 99% of the time, bring your own charger or go to the Student Union Building and use the bank of chargers on the third floor.

 10 things I wish I knew before I went to O-Week at Dalhousie University!

9. You will be asked which pronoun you use

I was a little confused when this came up, since I came from a small town and there wasn’t much diversity there. You’ll write on your O-Week t-shirt in the pronoun space if you identify with “he”, “she”, or “they”. This is Dal’s way of being inclusive and encouraging a safe and respectful environment for each student, regardless of how they identify.

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 10 things I wish I knew before I went to O-Week at Dalhousie University!

10. Make sure you know the actual schedule

I was late to one of the last morning events, even though the schedule is literally on your back during the whole orientation. Don’t just skim over it, read it and understand it. Otherwise, you run the risk of looking like an idiot walking in significantly late to an event. Plus you might not get any free stuff and that sucks.

 10 things I wish I knew before I went to O-Week at Dalhousie University!

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All in all, O-Week is a fun-filled couple of days before the start of classes. It’s the last time you might truly be able to call yourself “free” before you experience the stress you’ll be getting in a month from exams, projects, and assignments. So go ahead and enjoy! Make sure you’re prepared by referring back to these 10 things before you go!

Do you have any other tips for orientation at Dalhousie University!? Share in the comments below!

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